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Court Service Annual Report

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when she will publish the Court Service annual report for 1999-2000. [152741]

Jane Kennedy: The Court Service annual report for 1999-2000 has been published today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Law Commission Report No. 251

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when she will make an announcement on Law Commission Report No. 251, "The Rule against Perpetuities and Excessive Accumulations". [152742]

Jane Kennedy: The Government accept the Law Commission's recommendations in Report No. 251 "The Rule against Perpetuities and Excessive Accumulations" and will legislate when parliamentary time allows.

Review of Civil Enforcement

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what progress has been made on Phase Two of the Review of Civil Enforcement. [152743]

Mr. Lock: We have been engaged in a comprehensive review of the enforcement of civil court judgments since 1998. I announced by way of a written answer on 26 July 2000, Official Report, column 715W, the completion of Phase One of the review. The rules of court arising from this phase are currently being drafted.

I also announced on 26 July last year the terms of Phase Two of the review. These were:

I am pleased to announce that Phase Two of the review of enforcement procedures will now be broadened to include structures for, and the regulation of, civil enforcement agents generally, not just within the High Court and the county courts.

It would be a wasted opportunity not to attempt to go further and devise a single model encompassing not just civil court warrant enforcement agents, but other private sector civil enforcement agents collecting money for central or local government. This will involve my officials exploring systems across all areas of enforcement, and they will now examine various possible options, including issues surrounding a new class of enforcement agents who would be officers of, but not necessarily employees of, the court.

For this reason we will publish in late Spring 2001 a Green Paper on the structure and regulation of enforcement, and a single piece of bailiff law, followed by a White Paper later in the year, setting out our proposals for legislation.

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This approach offers the best prospect of ensuring that there are real gains from the Review. Continuing with the narrower focus would pass up the opportunity of achieving a fundamental improvement in our enforcement system.

Departmental Policies (Vale of Clwyd)

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Vale of Clwyd constituency, the effects on the Vale of Clwyd of the Lord Chancellor's Department's policies since May 1997. [151933]

Mr. Lock: The Lord Chancellor's Department is responsible for the administration of the courts and for legal services. We have taken steps to improve the management and effectiveness of the services we provide and to meet customer needs, including working closely with other agencies to provide a fair, swift and effective system of justice, improve the availability of affordable and good quality legal services and to improve the lives of children and help build and sustain strong families.

The Vale of Clwyd is covered by Denbighshire Community Legal Service Partnership (CLSP). There are currently 165 CLSPs throughout England and Wales. Fifteen of these are based in Wales.

Within Denbighshire 10 solicitor firms and two not-for-profit organisations have been awarded contracts whose total value amounts to over £273,000. The contracts cover a range of categories, including family, debt, housing and welfare benefits.

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Eleven of the organisations are based within the Vale of Clwyd constituency area and predominantly provide services to residents covered by the towns of Rhyl and Denbigh. Although one provider, South Denbighshire CAB, is based outside the Vale of Clwyd, its services can still be accessed by people living within the Vale of Clwyd.

All 12 organisations above are holders of the Community Legal Service Quality Mark. In addition, the award of a specialist level Quality Mark is imminent for the Welfare Rights Unit at Denbighshire County Council, and should be issued no later than May 2001. North Denbighshire CAB has submitted an application at the General Help level and is due to be audited at the beginning of April 2001.

Community Legal Service

Maria Eagle: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the changes which would be required in the budget of the Community Legal Service for civil cases for each 5 per cent. increase in solicitors' remuneration in criminal cases; and how many people requiring support for civil cases would be affected by each 5 per cent. increase. [152063]

Mr. Lock: Each 5 per cent. increase in remuneration for all categories of criminal legal aid would cost around £42 million, and would reduce the ability of the Legal Services Commission to support about 75,000 acts of assistance in civil matters.